Munich Airport Offering Free Coronavirus Testing

Filed Under: Travel

A few days ago I wrote about Istanbul Airport’s impressive coronavirus testing, as the airport is offering testing with high capacity and fast results for ~$16. Well, Munich Airport has just introduced an even better coronavirus testing option.

Munich Airport now offers free coronavirus testing

Munich Airport is now offering free coronavirus testing to all arriving passengers who can present a same day boarding pass. The airport has set up tents in the Forum of Munich Airport Center, which is located landside between the two terminals.

There are a few things to be aware of:

  • There’s no registration required, but rather you can just show up
  • This is only for passengers not showing coronavirus symptoms (though hopefully you wouldn’t fly if you were showing symptoms)
  • There’s no nationality requirement or anything, but rather you just have to present an inbound boarding pass
  • Those who get tested will get results within 24 hours, and sometimes even faster than that
  • Since this is in a public part of the airport, you’d only be able to get tested if you’re eligible to enter Germany (so those exclusively connecting wouldn’t be able to use this facility)

This is part of Bavaria’s effort to catch more cases from those who may be arriving from higher risk zones abroad.

Germany requires those arriving from international destinations that are deemed to be “high risk” to either quarantine for 14 days or get a coronavirus test (and stay quarantined until the results arrive), so this makes the process of getting tested much easier.

Given that there’s not much enforcement with the quarantine, it seems mutually beneficial for travelers to have easy access to free coronavirus tests.

It’s not yet known for how long Munich Airport will be offering this.

How this compares to other airport coronavirus testing

This is a significant improvement over the airport coronavirus testing capabilities we saw in Germany prior to this:

  • Prior to this, Munich Airport offered testing in the airport medical center, but at the cost of 199EUR, which sure is steep
  • Frankfurt Airport has been offering testing since late June, though at a cost — it costs 59EUR to get results within six to eight hours, and 139EUR to get results within three hours

Suffice to say that this is a significant improvement over both of those options.

Bottom line

Munich Airport is now offering free coronavirus testing to all arriving passengers. While German airports have been better than most when it comes to offering testing up until this point, this is really on a whole different level.

Being able to get free testing with quick results is awesome. Hopefully we see this on a more widespread basis, because this is really a key part of any sort of a recovery for the travel industry.

Comments
  1. Lucky,

    Does this mean that those from high-risk zones (U.S. for example) are able to arrive, take a test, then not have to quarantine? Or are entry requirements still governed by other restrictions?

  2. @ P — Nope, the entry requirements haven’t changed. It’s just that those who are allowed to enter from most countries have the option of getting tested (this includes Germans returning home from a holiday).

  3. So I can fly from the US to Munich (on a UK passport) and get tested for free once I arrive? Will I have to quarantine for up to 24 hours while awaiting the test results?

  4. I wouldn‘t be to sure that nationality doesn‘t matter since testing is only free for people living in bavaria and the airport wasn‘t answering those questions on twitter.

    So I doubt that foreigners can use the free testing facilities- its more for people living in Germany and returning

  5. @ Mitch Cumstein — If your UK passport gets you into the EU then yes, absolutely. You are supposed to self quarantine until you get the results.

  6. @ Tina — I’ve confirmed with 100% certainty that nationality isn’t a factor here. Think about it — Bavaria doesn’t want anyone who is allowed to enter to have coronavirus, regardless of whether they live there or not.

  7. @Tina So, which is it? Officials at MUC will not be happy when thousands show up citing Ben’s post saying ALL passengers can be tested for free. Especially as I just forwarded this to a lot of people, lol.

  8. @Ben: Just saying that they didn‘t confirm it on twitter and all other airports are getting ready to set up testing stations aswell (a few train stations will follow) and finance is still isn‘t confirmed between the states and the sort of medicare (kassenärtzliche Vereinigung).

    @Stuart: You would still need to be able to enter Germany, and if you arrive from a high risik state depending on your final destination a 14 day quarantine period or a negativ covid test prior to departure (but not older then 48 hours) is needed.
    With 16 federal states we do have 16 different laws with quarantine & who can get tested free or not in Germany

  9. @Roberto: DUS mention a EU citizen as requirement which would make sense which other EU regulation regarding medicial bills as EU citizen travelling around the EU

  10. Copenhagen airport also provides free tests for anyone who wants to, however you do not get an answer on whether you already might have had corona, only if you are currently having corona.

  11. @Tina – EU citizenship or EU residency. So no tourists, but I thought that travel to Germany is forbidden (or Germany’s most used word – Verboten) for tourists from high risk countries anyway.

  12. If you google “False Negatives Found If COVID-19 Testing Done Too Soon” and click on clinicaloncology.com link, according to John Hopkins Medicine:
    “The researchers estimated that those tested with SARS-CoV-2 in the four days after infection were 67% more likely to test negative, even if they had the virus (CI, 27% to 94%).” So, if one has no symptoms, the test is not very helpful.
    Testing upon arrival is sold to the German public to protect them. This does very little to ensure the public that they will not be getting the virus on the plane. “Awesome” initiative? – I don’t think so.

  13. Lets face it, if you return from your holiday (and Germany is in the middle of holiday season until mid September) and can just walk into a testing center at an airport, train station or even pull over at a testing stop after a major bording crossing without paying anything – there is a much higher chance people will be getting tested.

    And yes it might be to early, but in other cases it might be to catch a infection nobody would have noticed.

    And according to DUS airport they don‘t send you the test results but inform your local health office (which means for example in my County you are only told if its positive)

  14. @JustTraveller:
    Yes, if you get infected during the last three days of your vacation, chances are that the test incorrectly gives you a negative result.
    But most people are on vacation for more than 4 days.

    And some testing is still better than no testing and pretending Corona doesn’t exist – like we are seeing in the US.

  15. @Ben:
    I just called them to clarify:
    Only those with a permanent residency in Germany are eligible to get tested for free. Nationality does not matter. A boarding pass and a passport/ID card are needed to get the free test.

  16. @Tina. I am well aware and am actually in Vienna now for approved business entry. I have colleagues flying to MUC next week on EU passports so was checking for them.

  17. Stuart is American but was allowed into Vienna to “service” his Austrian clients under the business exception. 🙂

  18. @Joe. I spent €200 for a Covid test at the airport and now others are getting them for free. So, I gotta make that lost cash back somehow. Working the bar at The Sacher tonight…some high rollers there.

  19. @Stuart: You will still need the covid test, since those „getting it for free“ are german residents who are paying the tests with their contribution to health care and tax payments.

    And those results are apparently not handed over but send to the local health office- if you want to skip quarantine laws you need to have the results in hand (Austria just changed the law aswell)

  20. Very helpful post! I am planning on arriving to Munich from a high risk zone (U.S.) for a work contract. I don’t have the work visa yet as they will process it when I am in country. Is the contract and letter from the organization enough? I understand I will have to quarantine or get take the covid test at Munich airport.

  21. @Tina. Yes, I actually scrambled to fly in before midnight last night as the loose business travel exemption is now all but over in Austria. They are tightening up all entries. I made it with 14 hours to spare.

    Again, you may be confusing people regarding MUC. Ben is saying it’s free for all arrivals regardless – but you still seem to say it’s not…or else you are not articulating it correctly….”those „getting it for free“ are german residents who are paying the tests with their contribution to health care and tax payments.”

  22. I am planning on arriving to Munich from a high risk zone (U.S.) for a work contract. I don’t have the work visa yet as they will process it when I am in country. Is the contract and letter from the organization enough? I understand I will have to quarantine or get take the covid test at Munich airport.

  23. @Lucky, I have an EU passport from a boot-shaped country, but live in the USA. Do you think I could fly to Munich, get this test, and then enjoy some travel in Germany? According to your understanding of the rules, would I be allowed to enter Germany for tourism?

  24. @Stuart: I was trying to say that its only free on the first look – as tax money from federal states & public health system are paying for those tests.

    And we don‘t know if its free of charge for all arrivals – there are different wordings used and nothing is finalized yet for nearly all airports. it was just decided Friday and the 16 federal states aren‘t in agreement about the payment (flight tax addition was mention).

  25. @James: You need to check the federal quarantine laws (USA is on the high risk state list so you would follow under those) of your final destination. But I don‘t think any hotel would be welcoming with you register with an US adress at the moment.

    And the munich covid19 test might not work since we don‘t know if you get the results of a negative test (we often only get the positive results and no information if one is negative).

    But with rising numbers all over Europe now is not the time to fly over and travel

  26. @Tina, if I got a negative result, why would it matter if I got a paper or not? The point is that, if you don’t hear back, you’re negative, and free to travel, yes?

    Why would a hotel deny me service if I legally entered the country as an EU citizen and complied with the testing requirement?

    And FWIW, my EU member state is not seeing rising numbers at all.

  27. The idea of this free test is to encourage germans coming back from their vacation to get tested. There are a lot of discussions in germany at the moment and later on tonight Jens Spahn, german minister of health, will announce a compulsory test for all travellers returning from risk country (e.g. Turkey).

    Munich and Bavaria have (for political reasons) a pioneering role in coronotests. Already now all Bavarians (the domicile is decisive; it is saved in the health insurance card) are allowed to have themselves tested free of charge at any time and without limit. The procedure is already very simple and is further simplified by additional walkthrough test stations. Instead of Oktoberfest, there is now again a test station on the Theresienwiese in Munich.

    @Stuart:
    Just to clarify about Munich AIrport: The free test is offered since saturday. So far, 1340 passengers participated. It is free if you are a permanent resident in Germany.

    If you are an Austrian living in Austria or an American living in the U.S. on a business trip in Austria it is not free. So no worries, you can relax at the Sacher Hotel Bar.
    (How comes your company doesn`t refund the coronoa test fee? Isn`t it considered as travel expenses?)

    @James:
    No. Unless you are on an essential business trip you will have to go into quarantine. You can pay for a Covid test at Munich airport in order to reduce the days of quarantine.

    @Ben:
    According to the Corona Test Center at MUC (which I called under +49 89 975 633 99) the test is only free for german residents. Please update your article accordingly.

  28. @James: I can only speak for my federal state and you need medicial approved negative covid19 test and need to have that with you for the 14 days after entry to skip the quarantine. Thats the current situation, but it could change in the coming days.

    Some hotels denied check in for german guests from certain local areas with higher numbers.

    And yes Italy is one of the few with stabile low numbers – hope it stays that way with summer holidays.

  29. @James, I stayed at a hotel in Stockholm last week. Around 6pm the day of check-in a front desk agent called me to see if I was still coming, as he noticed my US address and thought we might have trouble getting into Sweden. I told him we’d been in Sweden for almost 2 weeks and were driving to the hotel by car, and he wished us safe travels. They were very welcoming, so I’m not sure why Tina thinks a hotel in Germany would be unwelcoming.

  30. @Tina,

    How would they know when the 14 days was over given EU passports aren’t stamped upon entry?

  31. @Mitch, thanks for chiming in with your experience in Sweden. The bottom line is that most people are not sick in the world right now. I had this virus — at least I’m 99% sure — in late January, so I’m not really worried about getting a positive test in the future. I think most hoteliers wouldn’t be turning away an EU citizen because of their U.S. residence, especially if that EU citizen was complying with all laws and regulations.

  32. I’m laughing at all the comments here about hotels turning away people. No hotel cares. At all. On the first trip two weeks ago to Vienna I presented my letter of urgent business and my test results when checking in at Park Hyatt. They looked at me like I was crazy.

    Even now with the new restrictions, no one, and I mean no one cares here about your test results or where you came from or why you’re here. Tina is a bit over the top imho as to “Das Ist Verboten!”

  33. Its simply the law in certain federal states, nothing else and as a traveller I personal stick to the local law.

    I did mention that it happend to german travellers (some friends of mine were kindly ask not to check in because of high numbers in their city) – so its not against US travellers more a sort of general fear in certain places.

  34. @James, honestly I was a bit conflicted about traveling to the EU before our trip. In hindsight it was stupid to even debate it. Just pick somewhere you can go without quarantine, or where a negative test eliminates quarantine, and enjoy a wonderful vacation. I promise that you won’t have any regrets.

  35. so even for Germans coming from a high risk area this test is pointless since you won’t get the actual results and thus won’t be able to avoid quarantine?

  36. Stuart, I hope you enjoy your stay in Vienna and your clients are all very satisfied with your services. Sounds like you might even have some time to dip your toes in the local film and commercial waters while you’re there.

  37. @Skaner: We don‘t know yet. DUS mention that the test result will be send to the local health office.
    Speaking for mine – they only inform about a positive test, this might change now specially if the testing will become a requirement if a person arrives from a high risk state.

  38. Thanks Tina. so other than a German passport with a German address and a boarding pass, they don’t ask for anything else? Will they check your German health insurance? I’m flying into MUC on Friday and was hoping to get this done and send my wife who has a non-German EU passport to the test center where you have to pay.

  39. Might be wise to bring the health insurance card with you, just in case.
    Also you could call the testing center and ask what you need, if your wife could use it aswell and if you will receive paper work allowing to skip the quarantine period

    Looking forward to your feedback about the MUC experience

  40. I already tried calling the Bavarian state corona hotline multiple times, emailed the state health department and contacted the airport itself. No response from anyone. I also emailed the other corona test center at MUC where you have to pay and they don’t know too much about requirements but at least they will reply within 30 minutes.

    If I don’t get any info, I’ll change my connection in Frankfurt and do the test there and take a late afternoon flight to SZG instead.

  41. I wonder if they upkeep the ‘Medicare’ site in MUC, Yep, that’s the official name for the place that offered the EU 199 test before it became mandatory for vacation returns. I live in Hawaii, and although we have the lowest numbers nationwide it’s part of the US. A test 48 hours before arrival is impossible for me, since I am in the air for 37 hours. I had actually counted on the site, and planned my trip and arrival accordingly, because it offered 4 to 5 hour results to officially get around the quarantine. If I have to wait for 24 hours, where would I stay before I get the results? My destination actually is a stay with friends.

  42. Here is why I’ve given up on traveling Unless it’s absolutely essential. In the future, if a customer or a group flies on vacation or business and is covid positive at the departing airport or arriving airport, they will be unable to fly. And that’s the end of that trip. Who will cover it? does the passenger get fully reimbursed by the airlines? Do hotels/Airbnb’s have free cancellation from now on? The risk for traveling is going to be 100% on the passenger. Airlines will have to scrap basic & even regular economy & go back to the 70s with full fare tickets. The age of flying and traveling around the world is long over. This will become the future.

  43. Just emailed ‘Medicare’, a.k.a. ‘Notfallambulanz’ at MUC. Separately from the mandatory test for returning residents the voluntary 4 to 5 hour test is still available for folks allowed otherwise, like EU passport holders, to get around the 14 day quarantine, but not for folks with ‘banned’ countries’ passports like the US, Zimbabwe etc. Previous registration required and self pay EUR 200, around $ 220.

  44. Nationality is not a factor! What you need is a valid boarding pass from your arrival flight. Testing is very easy, takes about 5 minutes. Results within 3 days per mail, if tested positive earlier. No need to quarantine within the waiting period.

  45. Florian, Yes, please post your source, to my best knowledge, following the daily news on the two major German news outlets, there is quite a discussion, why citizens, who cannot afford to travel, or are too aware of the situation to travel, should pay via a backdoor, be it taxes or health insurance, for those who have the funds and the irresponsibility to travel. If, as a citizen, you want a test without symptoms, you have to pay EUR 130 to EUR 190 out of pocket, while everybody traveling outside the country will get a test for free, symptomatic or not. Therefore why should German citizens have to pay for a free test for anybody with any other nationality?

  46. @Skaner:
    If you live in Bavaria you can get tested
    A) at the Theresienwiese. At the moment you have to get an appointment through your doctor, but srating wednesday everybody (from Bavaria) can get an appointment no questions asked: https://www.corona-testung.de/

    B) at a participating doctor. Goto https://www.kvb.de/ and click “Arzt für Coronavirus Test”.

    If you live in Germany you can get tested
    C) for free at the airport.

    If you do not live in Bavaria you can get tested
    D) at the airport for a fee.

  47. I called the airport today and even they couldn’t tell me. We’ll just fly through FRA now where it’s easier for a non-German to get tested.

  48. I am a non-Eu citizen from a risk country. I arrived on 27th July in Munich airport and was allowed a free Covid test. The only issue is I Emailed Medicare aka NotfallAmbulanz this morning for a follow up on my results, and was informed “ Für die Tests der Staatsregierung sind wir leider nicht zuständig”.

  49. You will receive your result via mail within 3 days. In case your test is positive within 24hours. Received mine today and was tested on Sunday evening.

  50. We arrived Friday morning in Frankfurt and wanted to do the paid Centogene test. We were directed to a separate test area for travel returnees (I’m also a german citizen, my wife has an Irish passport but checked in with her US one) where testing was free. Results came to our email 6 hours later.

  51. Skaner, the pivotal question being: Are you a German resident? On the news sites it’s also not clearly defined, it often mentions :’All arrivals from high risk areas have to undergo mandatory testing’, but sometimes it’s: ‘All returning vacationers’, which would imply residency. Even the official MUC airport site only differentiates between arriving passengers and departing passengers. But good to know that I can have a departure test with result by email within 6 hours. https://www.munich-airport.com/travelling-in-times-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-8395611?_ga=2.45572644.1620165977.1596312787-350479728.1596312787

  52. I just arrived in Munich yesterday. I’m American and was allowed to enter for work purposes – I do not have a visa/residency yet and was still allowed to enter as a tourist (though I had the proper work contract and letter).

    Nationality does not matter at all to get the test at the airport and it is free as long as you are arriving and have a valid boarding pass. They ask for identification but you don’t need a German residency card. Took 5 minutes. I am still waiting for the results though.

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